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Hang these fancy oil paintings of classic emoji in your home

Is this art?

Feb 29, 2020, 9:13 am*

Internet Culture


Nayomi Reghay

The argument of high art versus low has raged for centuries. Can the art of the people be as admired, as respected, as the art of bourgeois culture? Should there be a divide between the two?

Enter the emoji oil painting—the daily accents of our frivolous texts, enlarged and replicated through the careful strokes of a painter’s brush. Such detail, such attention to form. 

A face, smiling and yellow, wears sunglasses so as to mask the inner self.

Another face transforms, its eyes gouged out and replaced with hearts: This figure is blind, for he sees only love.

A turd smiles at the absence of meaning.

Is this art? Is it? Only the viewer can say. On the one hand, the paintings cost $50 apiece, or $211 for a bundle of six. If you’re feeling fancy and opt to have your piece framed, the price goes up to $135.  

On the other hand, they’re emoji.

On the third hand, Andy Warhol would have loved it.

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*First Published: Apr 4, 2016, 2:23 pm